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Issue #1507      29 June 2011

MUA calls for more stringent radiation testing of Japanese imports

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) welcomed radiation testing of a shipment of cars from Japan by federal authorities but remained concerned about further shipments arriving in Australia.

The union wants an enhanced testing regime for products arriving in Australia, and is particularly concerned about the impending arrival of the Kaien, which has been through the Fukushima exclusion zone and is bound for Newcastle.

“The MUA does not apologise for putting public and worker safety first,” MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith said.

“Radioactive goods have been discovered in recent months, arriving by ship from Japan, to ports in Chile, China, Russia and mainland Europe.

“In our view there is no safe level of radioactive exposure and it is better to be safe than sorry.

“We call on the government to adopt a consistent and rigorous approach to testing of all cargo arriving from Japan, given recent tragic events there.

“Thousands of dock workers have died in the past in Australia as a result of workplace exposure to dangerous goods.”

He said while the union appreciates work in testing the cargo aboard the Trans Future 7, rigorous tests are now needed to deal with any threat posed by the Kaien and other ships.

“The MUA has a ‘safety first’ approach to worker and public safety and our legitimate expectation is for the government and regulatory bodies to match that,” Mr Smith said.  

Next article – SA public sector ready to do battle

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